The last two weeks I’ve been playing with my new iPhone and have spent some time to discover what it has to offer. In doing so I discovered some strains and pains that using the iPhone caused my eyes.. This got me thinking is the iPhone good or bad for eyesight? Was it how i was using the iPhone or was it the iPhone itself causing the strain? Maybe, just maybe it might help improve my eyesight and if not what eye exercises could i do to help!?
The main area that I felt the strain was the nasal side of both eyes. This meant i was over working and straining the medial rectus muscles. This muscle is one of six extraocular muscles, which are responsible for moving the eyeball in its full range..
I found that one of the best ways to overcome this was to hold the iphone a few more inches away from my eyes than i normally would to help use the eye muscles less. From time to time you can also look away from the screen then back again, just like in our ‘near and far’ eye exercise, which can be found in our library of exercises. Looking into the distance relax the muscles in the eye and the medial rectus muscles are not being used.. This also helps the cilliary muscles to relax allowing the lens to flatten.
The importance of allowing the lens to flatten is in our modern day lives we spend the majority of it looking close. this forces the focusing muscles (ciliary muscles) to be continuously contracted in order to keep the lens round so it can stay focused on what you are trying to see. This will eventually lead to a fatigued muscle and stiffen lens leading to such vision conditions as presbyopia and pseudo myopia.
I wondered if the small print on the screen could have also caused the eye strain. However, the new iPhone 4.S has a new retina screen display, making the image clearer as the pixels are closer together. This makes a difference because one reason why people say looking at a computer is bad for the eyesight is that the text is not straight lines, rather it is many small dots making the eye work harder to decipher the image.
Another cause of strain and one question clients always ask is whether using the iPhone or iPad in the dark is bad for eyesight? The answer to this is yes. One reason is because it cuts off the periphery. As with all electrical reading appliances or just reading, your focus is in the central vision and not what’s going on around you. To avoid this try to have lights on in the room so you can still take in the periphery. An eye exercise which could help with this is waving the hands to the side as you read.
The last aspect of the new iPhone I wanted to look at was the new speech to text feature Siri. Potentially this could be a great way to use our eyes less and save our eye sight, because in theory you spend less time being focused on the screen and more time looking into the distance and in the periphery. However, at the moment I tend to spend more time editing the words Siri gets wrong than if I had written it myself. But I have no doubt by the time Iphone 5 comes out Siri will be very advantageous for those wanting to help save and improve their eyesight.
In summary with any reading appliance or even with a book, there can be a strain on the eyes. It seemed to be more my habit of using the iPhone rather than the unit itself. In particular we need to be aware of where we’re holding it and for how long. Take as many eye breaks as possible and try to perform some eye exercise when possible, such as near and far. In particular try to notice if any strain is occurring and if you do, STOP and perform a resting eye exercise such as palming or distance looking.
Happy healing! 🙂